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Faithful utterances

Insecure leadership

by Froswa Booker-Drew
Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Lately, I’ve been bombarded in conversations about leaders—people sharing experiences of ‘supposed’ leaders that belittle, bully, isolate, and demoralize. These dominating authority figures create toxic work environments of fear, guilt, and shame. I hear stories of abuse in the workplace of individuals who begin to doubt and question their abilities. Supervisors who have caused tears, created chaos, or criticized everything but offered no solution. They are arrogant, deflect, blame others and take no responsibility. Often, these toxic leaders are insecure, and their internal issues tend to have repercussions externally.

Insecure leaders are often masking their feelings of inadequacy and need for affirmation and validation through arrogance and entitlement. King Saul in the Bible illustrates what happens when you allow insecurity to cloud your judgement. “When David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, playing songs of joy on timbrels. The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Then Saul became very angry.

This saying did not please him. He said: “They have given David honor for ten thousands, but for me only thousands. Now what more can he have but to be king?” And Saul was jealous and did not trust David from that day on,” 1 Samuel 18: 6-9, NLV.

David saved Saul’s life by killing Goliath. Instead of paying attention to the move of God and reveling in the victory, he is threatened by what others are saying. He lost sight of God appointing him King and instead of trusting God, he began to doubt. He was more concerned with what others thought than what God said. He was unable to celebrate David. Insecurity will make you minimize the success of others to feel better about yourself. As God’s Hand continued to bless David, Saul’s jealousy grew. Saul saw God was with David.

Instead of being grateful for the blessings David received, Saul became more disgruntled which further distanced him from God. Saul’s fear of David escalated into multiple murder attempts on David by Saul. Insecurity is dangerous. Saul’s focus on David damaged his leadership and his judgement. He failed to follow God’s instructions several times which had far reaching consequences. He allowed his insecurities to take his focus off of the vision and God’s leading to losing it all. His team lost faith in his abilities. It caused him to make rash decisions and disobey God. Saul made excuses, which allowed him to deflect responsibility for his actions.

Completely opposite, David’s rise was a result of his focus on God. He grew his faith instead of his fear. David was kind and compassionate. He was focused on the people instead of a need for praise. David sought God and was called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 3:22). He trusted God for his abilities and not relying on his strength. David’s obedience to God, even with mistakes along the way, built a legacy that is remembered even today. As leaders, we all must think of the legacy we will leave. How will people remember you and your leadership? How did they experience you? “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith,” Hebrews 13:7, NRSV.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, will others want to imitate you, your faith and follow in your footsteps? Or will they see your willingness to only deal with those you feel sorry for or beneath you to make you feel better about yourself, fleeing from opportunities of growth to learn from those who make you feel threatened? As people of God, our leadership matters, too. It’s so easy to blame the world for its lack of leadership, yet choosing to ignore how many leaders who are Believers are doing the same thing to those in their congregations and community organizations. We are hurting people, too. Saul’s harmful reach was not only to David, his followers but ultimately, his family. Insecurity can ruin lives, organizations, and communities.

Lead with love. Be led by God.

(Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the host of the Tapestry podcast and the author of three books for women. She is also the vice president of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas. To learn more, visit <drfroswa.com>.)

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